Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Building Your Writer’s Platform - C.K. Volnek

C.K. Volnek is my special guest today and she's provided a very helpful post.  Help me welcome her to Dishin' It Out.

Hi Ginger. Thanks for allowing me to visit on your blog today. Today I would like to visit with our readers (and writers) about Marketing and Platform.

Did you know, 83 percent of American adults dream of becoming a published author? Few will complete the elusive manuscript and even fewer have their books land in the hands of the readers. And it is said that less than 2 percent of authors will become rich from their book sales.

Yes, writing is a tough business. It is not a choice for those weak of heart. But if your muse won’t let you stop writing—like mine—then you need learn everything you can about writing AND marketing.

Writing a book is not only about the writing. To be successful, one must build The Golden Triangle. Literary Agent Michael Larsen talked about the triangle in his book, How To Write a Book Proposal. (I definitely suggest this book!)

‘The three sides of the Golden Triangle of a successful writing career are Writing, Promoting, and Building Communities. At the apex of the triangle is your vision of success. The two sides are Writing and Promoting. The base of the triangle is Building Communities because people are essential to your success.’

‘You can’t reach the top without writing and promoting books that deliver. But the people who want to help you are crucial for getting you from where you are to where you want to go.’

A writer must make building communities a lifelong commitment because the more people you know the further you’ll go.

Most writers would love to simply write…and only write, but a publishing goal is a most important part of the equation. Jack Canfield in quoted as saying ‘the success of a book is 90 percent promotion.’

All writers today need to do self-promotion.  Promotion won’t sell a bad book, but promotion will make a good book a success.

Promotion is all about building relationships, to get people to know, trust and like you; to have something of value to offer them. And the best promotion is ‘word of mouth.’

To begin a writing career, a writer needs to have two main goals:

·      First, a writer needs to know what kind of book he/she wants to write and what kind of emotions he/she wants from his/her reader.

·      Second, a writer needs to have publishing goals.

An author also needs to challenge themselves and their writer platform. Do you have a web page or a blog? Are you on twitter and facebook? What communities and groups do you belong to?

An author, whether currently published, in the process of being published or trying to get published NEEDS to explore these platform needs and include as many of the following elements in their promotional library as they can.

*  Web Page. First and foremost, an author needs a web page. An author needs this presence way before their book is ever sold. Think of the web page as a road, bringing readers to your door so when you have that coveted book ready to debut, they already know and like you. (If cost is an issue, there are many inexpensive ways to create your web page. There are several sites that offer free web site building. Weebly, Wix, Yola all advertise drag and drop web-site building so you don’t need html coding. Many also allow you to use a purchased domain name.)

When creating your web page, be conscious about your url. If you only plan to write one book, or one series, you might use the title of the book. But I advise the author to use their name as their url. How better to build name recognition than to keep your name ever in the forefront? (And purchase this url before you ever publish as there are many a scammer who will see your name out there and buy up your url and then want to sell it back to you at a ridiculous price.)

*  Blog. A blog is a great way to get your name out, to offer something to your readers and followers. But the writer must make sure to offer something of value in return for their visit. Know your reader and give them something to keep coming back for.  

*  Facebook. This is an excellent social media contact for family, friends and followers. These people will follow you and learn and celebrate your good news.

*  Twitter. This social media is fast and frenzied. It’s a wonderful tool to send short quips and bursts to as many people want to follow you as possible. (And it’s a great source of information, such as contests like those on Pitch University. ;-)

*  Groups. Groups are as important as best friends. They are your NEW best friends. A writer should know who his or her reader is and go after the groups that would find their story valuable. This can be daunting as it’s virtually endless.

*  Promotional sites. Just a few of the many to mention are Amazon, Good Reads, Jacket Flap, Borders and Barnes and Noble. Many, many, many!

*  Reviews. Okay, this is one area I never realized I should be so involved in. I do read…a lot, but I’m lacking in reviews. Why? I really don’t have a reason. But it’s a bad reason, whatever it might be. By writing reviews, one is building recognition, trust, and relationships.

*  Trailers/Podcasts. Trailers are a super way to create a memorable image for your book. I seen a great trailer for a picture book. Made me want to go right out and buy it. And pod-casts…another great way to ‘tell’ your story on the internet…literally!

*  Following blogs and websites. I can’t express this enough. This is how you make friends. Follow the people you admire most and make sure you comment on their posts. But like any relationship, this takes work and you can’t just visit once and think they’re your friend for life.

In closing, I would like to challenge our readers/writers to be ‘entrepreneurial’ with their writing. The internet offers a wealth of opportunities to produce, publish and build a platform. As an author, you are a business and you have to promote ‘you.’ But as you ponder promotion, I hope you realize there is something even more important than just ‘promoting you’…it is to build lasting relationships. I’ve learned one can never have enough friends. And it’s these friends who will help share my stories with the readers I want to reach.

So, even if you are like me, a small fish in a very big pond, know that with our ‘friends’, we grow bigger each and every day. If you see me on-line, I’d love to get the opportunity to say ‘hello’ and ask you ‘to please be my friend.’ 

Thanks and happy marketing.

C.K. Volnek
Ghost Dog of Roanoke Island – A tween ghost story with a twist of Native American folklore and based on the true mystery of the Lost Colony of Roanoke Island
A Horse Called Trouble – A young teen must overcome her own abused past to save the defiant horse who has taught her to love and trust again.
Coming soon…The Secret of the Stone – A young boy is thrust into mystic mayhem when the gift he’s given to protect is enchanted with the magic of Merlin.

Twitter:  CKVolnek
Face Book:  C.K. Volnek
Good Reads and Jacket Flap
Book Blogs, YALitChat and Kindle Boards
(just to name a few of the many great sites on the internet!)


Roseanne Dowell said...

Great advice, C.K. Promoting isn't fun, but so necessary.

Karen Cote said...

Thank you C.K.! I haven't heard of Jacket Flap...gonna check it out.

Love your plan and agree whole-heartedly. Learned a few things that are invaluable as well. Visiting blogs like this is not only beneficial to developing relationship, it's education at its best.

Of course, Ging always has this element on her blog to help writers. You being here is indicative of your abilities, however, I noticed a while ago, you seek out the best for writing tools, learn them and then pass it along to benefit others. Success at its core. Thank you.

Meg said...

Great info, C.K.! Love today's "dish" and very helpful. Also good to update those promo sites, which I seem to forget about. LOL Podcasts - scare me. Need to conquer that.

Charlie said...

Thanks for having me on your blog today Ginger. And thanks to Roseanne, Karen and Meg for joining me. I'm glad I've met you and that we share the author kinship! Happy writing...and promoting. :-)
C.K. Volnek

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